Friday, March 31, 2006

I Have Iggy-Mania!

Okay, so Michael Ignatieff all but declared his candidacy for the federal Liberal leadership Thursday, but I hope he runs and here's why:

1. Experience:
His experience is unparalleled in the leadership race thus far. Ignatieff received his undergraduate degree in history at the University of Toronto and continued his studies at Oxford University and then at Harvard University, where he received his PhD in History in 1976.

Since then, Ignatieff has been considered one of the world's leading experts in democracy, human rights, security, and international affairs. He has advised governments and world leaders and has served on the International Commission on Kosovo, the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, and the World Economic Forum, where he led panels on citizenship and minority rights, Afghanistan, and the future of the Balkans.

He has also been a regular commentator, critic and broadcaster on television and radio in Canada, England, and the United States. As a journalist, he covered the Balkan wars for the BBC, the Observer and the New Yorker, reporting from Bosnia, Kosovo, Rwanda, Angola, and Afghanistan. He also worked early in life as a staff writer for the Globe & Mail, and is a regular contributor to the New York Times Magazine. In television, he has hosted many programs for the BBC, PBS and CBC, including the award-winning 1993 series Blood and Belonging: Journeys into the New Nationalism. In 2000, he delivered the Massey Lectures The Rights Revolution on CBC Radio.

Ignatieff is also one of Canada's leading writers and his books have been translated into 12 languages. One of his most personal works, The Russian Album (1987), won the Governor General's Award for Non-Fiction and his other books include Blood and Belonging (2004), an acclaimed 1998 biography of Isaiah Berlin, Virtual War: Kosovo and Beyond (2000) and The Lesser Evil: Political Ethics in an Age of Terror (2004). Ignatieff has also written novels, including Scar Tissue (1993), which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction.

Ignatieff has held teaching posts at many of the world's leading universities, including Cambridge, Oxford, Harvard, the University of California, the University of London, the London School of Economics, and the University of British Columbia. Most recently, Michael was appointed the Chancellor Jackman Visiting Professor in Human Rights Policy at the University of Toronto and Senior Fellow of the Munk Centre for International Studies.

2. He is untouched by scandal:
Ignatieff has not been involved in the Income Trust Scandal, the Sponsorship Scandal or anything else dirty associated with Jean Chrétien or Paul Martin. Because of this, I think he is in a great position to bring a fresh, clean perception to the Liberal Party. Not having strong ties to Chrétien or Martin will also allow him to unite the Party - he's neutral and when people work with him they can forget about past allegiances and/or grievances.

3. He's a brainchild:
It's always very refreshing to see a politician who isn't a hack, but actually has built his own career and successes. What I really want to see in our next leader is someone who knows what he or she is talking about and is backed up with his or her knowledge and experiences. I don't want a leader who has got to where he or she is through nepotism, connections or simple loyalty to the right person or persons. It's great to know that some people give up their very lucrative careers to pursue politics and build our country. I think every Liberal can (or at least should) look at Ignatieff and think, here is a very articulate, intelligent man and I'm glad he's on our team.

4. He's bilingual:
You won't be hearing this guy telling reporters, "En Anglais s'il vous plait" because Ignatieff is quite bilingual. And to ensure his proficiency in the language, he has hired bilingual staff and asked them to speak French as often as possible. For those who claim that Ignatieff isn't Canadian enough, he sure has a big advantage over most of the other candidates - he can actually communicate with 1/4 of Canada's population.

5. Has a solid vision for Canada:
Ignatieff is convicted to build a proud country - one with focus and determination that helps resolve problems like hunger, disease and environmental destruction. He is committed to international aid, economic sovereignty, multiculturalism, Aboriginal rights, national unity, respect for Québec, constitutional renewal, a strong centralized government, fixing the fiscal imbalance, enhancing the bonds of Canadian citizenship, national productivity and an opportunity strategy and investments in education, science and technology research.

6. He resonates with people:
To all those who don't think he can, I ask them why then has he had such a successful career in journalism? He is warm, passionate, articulate, bright and understands the problems that face our country. If he indeed becomes leaders, I think people will trust him. He is charismatic, but also has the knowledge and leadership capabilities to run a country.

7. He's sexy:
Okay, so I've posted earlier this week on how unfortunate it is that women are objectified in politics and as much as I hate to create a double standard, I'm going to anyways. Ignatieff is a hunk. Zsuzsanna Zsohar is one lucky woman. Gawd, would I ever like to find a guy that smart, articulate, handsome, charismatic... but, oh yeah, I'm attracted to assholes.


At 10:34 AM, Blogger Dennis said...

Yeah, he has a solid vision for Canada, alright. So much so that he has been living outside it for three decades.

At 11:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes and for those that say he was out of Canada for thirty years, please tell us exactly where he was all those years, and can you prove it ?

At 11:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do we need another Hero, or just another Philosopher King?

Some called Trudeau the philosopher king of Canada. He combined fierce personal independence; financial independence (which supported the former); a tough, relentless intellect, honed by Jesuit and jurisprudence training; personal courage.

He had an uncanny instinct to penetrate to the heart of any dispute and in a few words, carefully crafted and devastating in their logical construction, outline why he believed his course of action was good for the country.

He saw the need for balance (between the rights of the state or collective society, and the rights of individuals), and fought whatever tilted those forces out of balance.

His Philosopher side did not prevent him taking decisive action which positively altered the direction of the country: he brought into being one of the greatest constitutions in the world, with its Charter of Rights and Freedoms; and he fought tooth and nail those who would drive a stake in the heart of Canada by separating Quebec from the rest of Canada.

He made Canadians proud to have him as a leader, because he represented this relatively new nation, and the world saw that and viewed Canada more favourably as a result.

Today, we would not see Trudeau toadying to the Bush neocons, or copying Bushian "bring them one" bravado. Trudeau, if asked about Bush's foreign policies, would simply say fuddle duddle, and leave it at that. He would not allow a naked emperor to stride around pretending to be garbed in princely attire, not even a policy-wonkish emperor.

What we need in a leader of Canada is a man or woman who:

• is a born leader, with deep rooted integrity which shows in actions and speech;

• a visionary, who can once again make Canadians proud by making us measure ourselves against the injustices in the world, and calling upon us to do our bit as a nation to change them;

• speak to us clearly, without code words or waffled nuance, so that we can understand what the issues mean to such a leader, and where he or she wishes to take the country; and

• given the dangers in the world, a streak of ruthlessness to be used to protect us, and the weak and helpless in the world, if that is every needed.

What we don't need is a prancing idiot in a flyboy suit, or a mandarin mincing words without end.

We need a leader who meets the criteria above, or who has the right stuff and can grow into such a person. Why should we settle for less? After all, we are Canadians, not Americans.

At 11:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


He was aout of Canada for 27 years. If you would like proof, read his speech at the Univ. of Ottawa - he states it!

Now that you have your proff, I take it that you will no longer be supporting him.

At 11:52 AM, Blogger Pedro said...

Igg may have been out of the country, but he always came back as also mentioned in his speech.

"This is my country, after all.

As a child, I played in the barns of my uncle’s dairy farm in Richmond, Quebec; I swam off the rocks at my aunt’s place in Georgian Bay; when I was a young teacher out in British Columbia, I remember sailing up Howe Sound and watching the sun burn the mist off the ocean; as a father, I rocketed down the Kicking Horse River in a raft with my children; as a husband, I stood with my wife among the graves of the Hungarian pioneers — her people — who settled the country near Esterhazy, Saskatchewan.

This is my Canada. These are the memories that made me who I am. This is the river that runs through me, as it runs through you. This is the place that defined my political allegiances. This is the place I call home.

My father came off a boat in Montreal harbor in 1928, a refugee from Russia. He became an ambassador for his country. Canada made him who he was, and he repaid his debt with a life of public service.

Now it’s my turn. "

At 11:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He was in and out of Canada during those years, as a reporter for CBC etc, etc,.
Remember Peter Jeenings, the reporter for NBC who died last year?.We accepted him for the Canadian he was, and a Canadian at heart.

At 11:59 AM, Blogger Pedro said...

Amen, Sister Liz!

This man is Canadian and like he has said, Canadians are honoured here for making it big overseas. He should be applauded for success as a Canadian.

At 7:09 PM, Blogger Robert said...

M.I.'s credentials are impressive.

I wonder, have the Tories ever fielded a candidate like that?

At 10:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He is too right-wing.

At 10:35 PM, Blogger Pedro said...

Iggy is definitely not too right-wing! If you click on the link on point 5, you can read his speach to UO. He is not right wing at all, in fact he sounds quite progressive.

At 8:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

iggy is deceptively neocon, whose intelligence
is often employed in equivocating on well established
liberal achievements, such as the Geneva Conventions.
liberals would rue the day they went for him, for
he designed the whole career, ever since upper
canada college and affections for czarism, in the
service of his own ego...all the american liberals
view him as a judas, because he became george w. bush's
advocate...Herr Iggy would be a disaster in spades.
he's even talked about tanks and guns against sovereignty
in quebec...again, that's not liberal, but statist...

At 11:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1) He has his academics. He is not a seasoned and experienced politician, which should be one of the major concerns for our party.

6) I have to disagree with you again, Pedro. I did not like his attitude, personality and from what I heard at the leadership candidate panel in Chinatown, Iggy was hardly charismatic.

Oh. He's been out of the country too long.

At 4:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


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